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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  January 2015

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION January 2015

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Subject:

FEAST - Another Saint for the Day (January 18): St. Margaret of Hungary

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 19 Jan 2015 02:19:25 -0600

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text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Margaret of Hungary (d. 1270). In 1241, when the kingdom of Hungary was largely overrun by Tatars, king Bela IV and his queen Maria Laskarina (daughter of Theodore I, Nicaean emperor of the Romans), who had withdrawn to a fortified city in Dalmatia, promised their next child to God should the kingdom be spared further devastation. The Tatars withdrew and in the following year Margaret was born. Her parents kept their vow and at the age of three or four Margaret entered the Dominican convent at Veszprém. At the age of twelve she entered a new convent, also Dominican, that her father had had built for her on an island in the Danube near Buda. There she made her profession before Bl. Humbert of Romans, Master General of her order.

As a Dominican religious Margaret practiced a life of extreme asceticism and stalwart service to the poor. A cult, accompanied by miracles at her tomb in the island convent, arose soon after her relatively early death. In the following year (1271) Margaret's brother, king Stephen V, requested a canonization inquiry; this was carried out and its acts were sent to Rome. Margaret's sanctity is documented by a Vita et Miracula intended for her canonization (BHL 5330d; Margaret's _Legenda vetus_) and by the acts of her canonization trial of 1276 (BHL 5330). In response to the papal letter commissioning her canonization inquiry, these documents also testify to the efficacy of Margaret's work in countering heresy among those with whom she was in contact.

In the 1340s Margaret received a Vita (BHL 5331; her _Legenda maior_) by the Dominican Garin de Gy-l'Évêque, a future Master General. This incorporated material from the canonization trial but responded to more current models of sanctity by making M. a mystic and by attributing to her an instance of levitation.

Though none of these efforts led directly to Margaret's canonization, her cult continued in Hungary, where in 1409 the Dominican Bl. Giovanni Dominici (he of _Lucula noctis_ fame) as cardinal legate granted an indulgence to pilgrims visiting her tomb and where Dominicans celebrated her with an Office of her own. Margaret's equivalent canonization occurred in 1943. She was a niece of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (Elizabeth of Thüringen; 17. November), canonized in 1235. One of her sisters was St. Cunegunda / Kinga of Poland (24. July), canonized in 1999.


Some images:

Margaret of Hungary (not crowned; at center, betw. Sts. Elizabeth of Hungary / of Thüringen and Henry of Hungary) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century fresco (1318) by Simone Martini in the lower church of the basilica di San Francesco at Assisi:
http://www.wga.hu/art/s/simone/3assisi/transept/5saints2.jpg
Detail view (Margaret of Hungary):
http://www.wga.hu/art/s/simone/3assisi/transept/5saints3.jpg

Margaret of Hungary (crowned; at lower left) as depicted by the Master of the Dominican Effigies in a mid-fourteenth-century panel painting now in Florence's basilica di Santa Maria Novella and thought to have been commissioned for Hungarian Dominicans resident in that city:
http://www.smn.it/images/effigi.jpg

Margaret of Hungary (faintly crowned; at lower left, below St. Dominic of Caleruega) as depicted in Giovanni di Bartolomeo Cristiani's later fourteenth-century fresco (1370s) of the Presentation of the Elect in the refectory of the convent of San Domenico in Pistoia:
http://tinyurl.com/pjwbpf7 

Margaret of Hungary (not crowned; at far left) as depicted in a late fifteenth-century predella panel painting of Dominican saints, now in the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar:
http://www.musee-unterlinden.com/assets/images/_nouveau_mecenat/DSC_0024.JPG
Detail view (Margaret of Hungary):
http://www.musee-unterlinden.com/assets/images/_nouveau_mecenat/DSC_0025.JPG

Margaret of Hungary (crowned; upper register, at right after Sts. Peter Martyr and Catherine of Siena) as depicted by Juan de Borgoña in an early sixteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1515) now in the Museo del Prado in Madrid:
http://imagencpd.aut.org/4DPict?file=20&rec=15.462&field=2

Best,
John Dillon
(an older post revised)

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